OpEds: Positions On Fiscal Commission; Reinhardt On Medicare; Defeating Diabetes
The Washington Post: Why The Fiscal Commission's Plan Is The Way Forward
As a member of this bipartisan commission and co-author of the Conrad-Gregg Bipartisan Fiscal Task Force legislation the panel is based on, I hope this plan will be supported. ... Unfortunately, significant health-care savings are missing from the plan; this is an issue that will have to be addressed soon. Even if all of the provisions are adopted and adhered to for the next 15 years, our national debt will be brought back down only to today's level - 60 percent of gross domestic product, which is far higher than the healthy average level of 35 percent, where it stood for the past 40 years (Sen. Judd Gregg, 12/3).
Chicago Tribune: Why I'm Voting Yes
We restructured critical deductions for health insurance, mortgage interest, charitable giving and retirement credits to make the tax code fairer and provide valuable tax relief for middle-income and working families. On Medicare, the commission protects this valuable program that more than 40 million Americans count on and reaffirms the cost savings realized by the health care reform law (Sen. Dick Durbin, 12/2).
The Christian Science Monitor: After The Deficit Commission, On To Plan B
But the mastodon in the room is health care, specifically Medicare for seniors. The commission co-chairs recommend higher premiums for Medicare, but commission member Paul Ryan, a Republican congressman from Wisconsin who is expected to become the House budget chairman, says he'll vote against the plan precisely because of how it handles health care (12/2).
The New York Times: How Medicare Pays Physicians
While no one likes the cost-based Medicare fee schedule, its critics should be challenged to suggest a workable alternative based on 'value to patients.' For starters, the critics should explain concretely how they would define and measure value in this context, in monetary terms, keeping in mind the administrative cost of any such system (Uwe Reinhardt, 12/3).
MarketWatch: Food-safety Bill Is Worth The Price
To be sure, the new food safety law, if passed, will cost...us, likely. More inspections and paperwork add up. By 2015 the government estimates the operation cost of the bill will be $645 million. That doesn't include the costs to farmers and food suppliers to adhere to new mandates. Those costs, some say, may result in higher food prices on the shelves. Still, these costs will be far less than the price we pay for tainted food now, both from a moral and monetary point of view (Thomas Kostigen, 12/3).
The Miami Herald: Tallahassee's Pill Mills
In the lust to override lame-duck Gov. Charlie Crist's vetoes on a handful of bills, the overwhelmingly Republican Legislature passed a law that requires legislative approval for any new government rules that cost more than $1 million over five years. ... it turns out the measure had a nasty side effect: It also halted the imposition of new regulations on the state's pill mills, which help feed an illegal pill pipeline (12/3).
The Houston Chronicle: Defeating Diabetes
As we review those proposals in the state report, we can't help but notice both the importance of attention to diabetes early in life and the central role in that effort that is played by the CHIP program, which has been targeted for budget cuts by some in the state's leadership (12/2).